I moved to NC from Illinois, formerly from Ohio, four years ago. And I'm a Jose Ramirez home-run shot away from the ocean, in the northern part of the state.
People are generally friendly. Way more Ohioans than people from TSUN live and visit here, a bonus. Of course it could just be that TSUNers are ashamed to admit where they're from given their team's pathetic performance lately. But the other part is that we are a day's drive from southern Ohio, so many Ohioans come here to play and stay to live.
The state economy is good.. There is a lot of poverty here. You don't have to drive far to find it anywhere in the state, but that's true of Ohio as well. Housing prices are roughly comparable. Taxes are reasonable here. In the north, you're one to three hours away from a major city with airport, major hospital, malls, etc, and I-95 is two-plus hours to the west here, actually. The remoteness combined with the hurricane factor keep housing prices much cheaper than along the coast closer to big cities and interstates. NC is bigger geographically.than you'd think, 500 miles or a full day's drive from the ocean on the east to the mountains on the western edge.
I think the weather is better on average than Ohio, certainly much better here on average than in northern Ohio as in Cleveland. Note that the weather varies a great deal in NC from west to east, but also to an extent along the coast, from north to south,in the winter. The reason the Outer Banks are known as the Graveyard of the Atlantic is that Cape Hatteras, halfway down the coast, is where the Labrador current sweeping down the East coast from the north meets the Gulf Stream coming up from the south, and the rough shallow water well away from the coast, combined with the bulging coastline when you view an overhead map, sunk a lot of ships back before radar and GPS. And ocean water in the winter is notably colder north of Cape Hatteras, and this affects winter air temperatures along the NC coast.
Here in the north, we go below 30 F a few nights each winter, though not many, but we also stay in the 30s and low 40s for extended periods in the winter, and the wind, when it's coming in from the ocean, which it often is, feels nasty here. So you still need a winter coat, hat, and gloves. This is less true along the NC coast down near SC, because the ocean water is warmer there in the winter.
Don't make my mistake and not pack one snow shovel if you'll be living along the northern NC coast. I've only needed one twice in four years, but then, I was sorry we didn't pack one, because they're hard to find in stores here. We typically get one to three 1-3" snows a year which melt quickly, but once in a while, you get a 6" one that doesn't melt right away. I think our county has one salt truck, and the towns have no snow equipment, so you're on your own, and because people don't know how to drive on snow here, it's best to stay off the roads until it melts.
Summer weather, of course, is generally hot and humid all along the coast, a little more than Ohio, but not way more. But here in the north, again, the ocean water keeps it from getting nearly as hot and humid as it does well inland in central NC. We also get more truly pleasant spring and fall days than Ohio, I think. There are some severe thunderstorms, rarely a tornado, but fewer than Ohio. Popup thunderstorms with heavy downpours are not unusual in the summer, mostly late in the day or at night, typical for semitropics.
But of course there's no free lunch, and here the bad news is the chance for winter Nor'easters, which you might not expect, and summer and fall tropical storms and hurricanes, which you do. Nor'easters that are on their way to slam a blizzard into New England often spin up off the coast here and can move very slowly, producing damaging wind and ocean waves for days at a time. On the coast in northern NC, this happens about two or three times each winter.
You will likely have a couple or a few tropical storms and a weak hurricane or two that hit directly or just pass by most summers and falls. A nasty hurricane will come in every five years on average, though on rare occasions, two come in just a few weeks apart. This is more true to the south of Cape Hatteras than to the north. Ironically you don't escape this living in NC 200 miles to the west of the coast. Again because of the bulging coastline, a fair percentage of hurricanes come up from the Caribbean and make landfall near the SC-NC border, causing damaging floods there and then move north severely flooding central NC while missing the northern Outer Banks of NC altogether.
So if you're buying property along the coast in NC, it's vital to be very aware of your elevation and exposure to wind and floodwater. Don't just look at your property in a vacuum for floods. Assess the whole neighborhood. Don't assume that because you're 10 minutes inland, you won't have to deal with this. Some people living on the sounds have worse flooding problems routinely than people living on the beach. You want a house up on pilings if your land is lower than 15 feet above sea level, and you may need more if neighboring properties can drain towards you, or if as expected, sea levels rise in coming years..
If you have a mortgage your lender will require you to carry flood and wind insurance, living near the coast. This will cost you thousands per year, and it often only pays pennies on the dollar to your actual damages if you have to file a claim. You need a certain degree of resilience to rare occasions of extreme weather to live here. It's part of the price of living in paradise.